Officials from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs and the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation will hold a “send-off” ceremony today at the U.S. National Arboretum for the first 100 dogwood trees going to Japan as part of the Friendship Blossoms Initiative.
This initiative, a public-private partnership between the Department of State and the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation, commemorates the centennial anniversary of Japan’s gift of 3,000 cherry trees as a token of friendship between our two nations. To honor the next 100 years of U.S.-Japan friendship, U.S. officials announced the United States gift of 3,000 American dogwood trees to the people of Japan during the April 30 visit of Prime Minister Noda to Washington.
The trees have been carefully selected by the U.S. National Arboretum for their durability and beauty from Holly Hill Farms in Maryland and Hawksridge Farms in North Carolina. The dogwoods that will be sent off include Appalachian Snow, Sweetwater Red, Cherokee Chief, Cherokee Brave, and Cherokee Princess. Of these trees, 66 Appalachian Snow and 34 Sweetwater Red will be the first to be planted on November 16 in Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park.
In total, the 3,000 American dogwood trees will be planted in Tokyo, the Tohoku region - the area recovering from the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 - and in other locations around Japan over the next several years. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Tara Sonenshine will attend the dedication ceremony in Tokyo.
Joining the Department of State and the U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation at today’s event will be officials from the Embassy of Japan; representatives from the U.S. National Arboretum, which is providing its expertise to support this initiative; representatives from corporate partners who have generously assisted this public-private initiative, including UPS, Chevron, Coca Cola, Caterpillar Inc., General Electric, and Applied Materials Inc.; and other individuals from organizations that promote close U.S.-Japan ties.
The U.S.-Japan Bridging Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that awards scholarships to U.S. undergraduate students to study for one semester or academic year in Japan.
For more information on the Friendship Blossoms Initiative, please visit http://www.bridgingfoundation.org/friendship-blossom-project.
For more information on attending today’s ceremony, please visit: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/10/199318.htm